Mineola-based company Parent-Child Home Program’s CEO Sarah Walzer is a recipient of New York Nonprofit Media’s 50 Over Fifty Awards, honoring New York nonprofit leaders over the age of 50. The awards were presented during a breakfast at Manhattan Penthouse on Wednesday Nov. 8.
The 50 Over Fifty Awards honors 50 of New York’s most prominent and accomplished leaders in human services, health care, education and
other nonprofits over the age of 50, who continue to make a positive impact on New York through their achievements, leadership abilities, philanthropic efforts and dedication to the betterment of the state.
Walzer was honored for her work as the driving force behind her organization’s mission to provide under-resourced families with the skills and tools they need to help their children thrive in school and in life. This year also marks Walzer’s 20th anniversary with Parent-Child Home Program (PCHP).
The PCHP’s nationwide network of program sites provides under-resourced families the necessary tools to ensure their children achieve their greatest potential in school and in life. Since 1965, PCHP has been assisting underserved communities in replicating and expanding this proven school readiness program that builds early parent-child verbal interaction and learning at home. Through twice-weekly visits by highly trained community-based Early Learning Specialists, PCHP provides families the skills, materials (books and educational toys), and support to help parents engage and teach their children. More than 50 years of research shows that PCHP effectively increases school readiness, decreases the need for special education services before grade three by 50 percent and increases participants’ high school graduation rates by over 30 percent to the same level as their middle-income peers.
“Sarah has been a tireless force behind the progress and evolution of PCHP,” said Sonia Hamstra, president of the PCHP Board of Directors. “Her dedication, knowledge and expertise are invaluable to our cause, and the children and families we work with. We are delighted to be celebrating her 20th anniversary with us and look forward to many more years of her important leadership.”
Education has always been Walzer’s passion. A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Law School, Walzer served as Counsel to the Assistant Secretary for Legislation of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services where she worked on legislative initiatives and funding for early childhood programs. Later, as Legislative Assistant Counsel to U.S. Senator, Joseph Lieberman, she was responsible for children and family issues for the Clinton/Gore Domestic Policy Transition Team. In that capacity, she evaluated early childhood initiatives and a range of legislative issues regarding early childhood education. In 1997, Walzer met Phyllis Levenstein, founder of PCHP, and embarked on a journey to grow PCHP from a small nonprofit into an international replication model.
Today, PCHP is one of the most respected and effective nonprofits, providing a proven at-home early education program to children who need it the most. Under her leadership, PCHP has expanded exponentially, with sites in 14 states and four countries—soon to be five.